I am genuinely interested in palaeoart and the act of reconstructing representations of dinosaurs as living animals from the fossil record. Indeed for me it’s the final extension of what I do as a palaeontologist in trying to produce the information that allows us to bring these long dead animals back to life.
However, I’m well aware of the fact that a great many of my friends in this field struggle to make a living, and despite their willingness to produce works on my behalf (and those of others) they are often not renumerated to the degree they should be. This makes me feel exceptionally guilty, but there’s not much I can do about it. I simply don’t have the money available for such things and all I can do is showcase their works and talent. A number of other people have generously volunteered their services at various times and have been kind enough to produce work that links to my research. Even here though, I feel I’m picking on the select ‘few’ when I know there are many people out there (and a large number who read this blog) would have liked a crack at whatever new thing in being described.
Bearing all that in mind, I though it time to open something up to anyone. A chance for any person who is interested to get a jump on a project and produce something in relation to it. I have an interesting specimen which is being written up for a paper and I’m giving people the chance to illustrate this. If you want to join in, all you have to do is e-mail me, or add a comment below and I’ll send you what you need.
The ‘rules’ as such are as follows:
1. The images etc. I send are private and should not be published or sent around etc. to anyone until the paper is out. Nor for that matter should you publish any sketches etc. Sorry about this, but the research should be kept private and of course the museum that owns the specimen and the curators who looks after it have their rules too about such use. It’s pretty much normal practice though.
2. You should discuss this work only with me, or another person you know to be illustrating this. I’m not that secretive about my research, but equally I can’t control a disparate group of people either, so the easiest and ‘safest’ thing to do is this.
3. Any submission I get will be published on the Musings (credited of course) when the paper is out (assuming you want that!). If you have done something and it’s ready in time I will post it.
4. Assuming we get media interest in this, I will make all images available to the media (credited of course, and with your permission) and thus may get some serious online interest.
5. I will attempt to provide such scientific guidance and feedback for the work as far as possible to help this on it’s way, though of course I can’t necessarily give tons of help if I have a dozen (or maybe even many more) people to deal with.
Edit: 6. Following the first few comments I realise that just to cover myself in case of any eventuality I reserve the right to have to change these rules and especially limit the number of participants. I simply can’t help / handle dozens of people, so if *everyone* signs up I may have to cut this down / hold a lottery / something. I hope it won’t come to that, but understand that 100 people could sign up and I can’t offer the time to help them all and I’d be uncomfortable sending out this stuff to such a huge number of people.
What I really hope this is, is a chance for people who want their work to be seen and to work with me on a project (getting some real help about anatomy etc.) and, well, have their work seen and recognised. What I hope this is not and I’m trying hard to make sure it isn’t, is exploitative. I know loads of people out there simply want to paint and draw dinosaurs and rush to be among the first to do so when something new comes out. If that’s happening anyway, then here’s a chance for you to do that with the researcher in question and get a headstart and real feedback on the subject (even if there’s a whole bunch of people in the same position).
I should add at this point that the paper is really not much more than a sketch right now and I don’t expect to finish the writing for a good few weeks or even a few months and then of course there are reviews etc. I’ll be surprised if this is formally published in the next 3-4 months, and it could easily be twice that (and more if there are big delays or bad luck). Either way, time is on your side, so don’t feel you have tyo go mad and get scribbling, but be warned that I have only limited control over when the ‘deadline’ will be. The paper is not about a new species but deals with dinosaur behaviour.
So, if you still want in, drop me a line or add a comment below. In a couple of weeks, I’ll put together a package of photos and files and send them out and let you get started.